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#162452 - Fri Mar 07 2003 11:19 AM Sense & Sensibility (Book of the Month Club)
TabbyTom Offline
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I finished the book today, but I probably haven't appreciated it fully, because I've got workmen in my flat and my reading has been punctuated by the sound of hammering, drilling and God knows what. I'll read it through again over the weekend before I post anything.

Other readers, feel free to post your comments.
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#162453 - Fri Mar 07 2003 12:16 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Book of the Month Club)
skylarb Offline
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I first read this book many years ago. In between then and now, I saw the movie version (Emma Thompson), and now that I have begun re-reading it again, I really appreciate how fine an adaptation that was, particularly with how it dealt with the introductory passages of exposition by turning them into short scenes we could 'watch' while at the same time conveying all of the essential information Jane Austen gave us, and doing it rather concisely. In short, reading the book makes me appreciate the quality of the movie more.
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#162454 - Sat Mar 08 2003 03:57 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Book of the Month Club)
LindaC007 Offline
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Tom, my sympathies. I've been there myself, and there's nothing like several days hammering and drilling to ruin concentration. I am nearly three-quarters finished. Luckily, I have been reading it during peaceful interludes at my house.

Skylarb, this is my first time reading Sense and Sensibility, and I am thoroughly enjoying it, too.
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#162455 - Sun Mar 09 2003 08:49 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
skylarb Offline
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Mrs. Jennings is urging a match between Marianne and Col. Brandon. Which brings me to a question I'd like to pose to the group. Is Col. Brandon too old for Marianne?

Now, of course, large age differences between couples at that time were more common, but as Marianne points out, Col. Brandon is old enough to be her father, and even the sensible Elinor says early on in the book that perhaps "thrity-five and seventeen had better not have anything to do with matrimony together."
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#162456 - Sun Mar 09 2003 08:54 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Subtle Humour)
skylarb Offline
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Separating my distinct thoughts into two threads, I now want to take a moment to say how impressed I am with Jane Austen's very subtle (lightly sarcastic) humour. She pokes fun at Marianne very softly, showing up her immaturity and over sensibility while at the same time still maintaining affection for her character: "..she was reasonable enough to allow that a man of five-and thirty miggt well have outlived all acuteness of feeling and every exquiste power of enjoyment. She was perfectly disposed to make every allowance for the colonel's advance state of life which humanity required." And I love this jibe at John Dashwood: "He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold-herated, and rather selfish, is to be ill-disposed."
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#162457 - Sun Mar 09 2003 04:38 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Subtle Humour)
Moo Offline
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I'm just now getting started..... I will be reading it starting tomorrow. I'd thought I would be getting an early start, but it didn't happen.
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#162458 - Mon Mar 10 2003 02:46 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Subtle Humour)
radioderv Offline
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I'm not in the book club, but I thought Sense and Sensibility was my favourite Jane Austen book. I could identify with the characters, and at the time I read it, I liked it because things actually happened in it. Now I like it for its delicate character portrayal, and its humour. The film brought this out very well.
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#162459 - Tue Mar 11 2003 07:18 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Subtle Humour)
LindaC007 Offline
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Hello, radioderv! We're not really a club in the sense that there is any set membership. Everyone is really encouraged to just jump right in. Since you love Sense and Sensibility, I hope you will join in all the discussions. You are very welcome.


Skylarb has brought up an excellent point in the difference in ages between Marianne and Colonel Brandon's. Now it would be very much looked on in askance, wouldn't it? But I think the Colonel's his age (he's considered settled), and position, made him an ideal suitor. The idea was to get all young, single ladies married off, as quickly as possible, to a man who could support her nicely and be acceptable in society. The big problem is: that absolutely gorgeous soul of manhood all rolled up in one: Willoughby.

So the fun begins. Only in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice have I had so much fun reading about the romantic trials and escapades of Society.

Babymoo, you will find this so easy and quick to read and so much fun, too!

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#162460 - Tue Mar 11 2003 01:36 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

difference in ages between Marianne and Colonel Brandon's. Now it would be very much looked on in askance, wouldn't it? But I think the Colonel's his age (he's considered settled), and position, made him an ideal suitor. The idea was to get all young, single ladies married off, as quickly as possible, to a man who could support her nicely and be acceptable in society.




Except even the people of the time (other than Mrs. Jennings), does not seem to regard him, at least in the beginning, as an "ideal suitor." Even Elinor, who is very sensible, suggests at the beginning of the book that the age difference may be too great. I am wondering if others think it is too great for these two characters?
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#162461 - Fri Mar 14 2003 08:47 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
ren33 Offline
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No, I think Brandon is what Marianne needs. If you notice, there are no 'strong' fathers in this book (not like Mr Bennett etc), fathers to whom the girls may go for a bit of sensible advice and strong handling. No one to fight their battles with them and sort out problems, as Mr Bennett and Mr Gardiner do . So it is good that Marianne has Brandon to take care of her.
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#162462 - Fri Mar 14 2003 10:53 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

No, I think Brandon is what Marianne needs. If you notice, there are no 'strong' fathers in this book (not like Mr Bennett etc), fathers to whom the girls may go for a bit of sensible advice and strong handling. No one to fight their battles with them and sort out problems, as Mr Bennett and Mr Gardiner do . So it is good that Marianne has Brandon to take care of her.




Nor even strong brothers. We have one half brother, who is led by his wife, and not looking out for the interest of his sisters. We have no father; indeed, no strong male relatives at all. It is indeed a void Marianne might look to see filled, and she certainly matures enough to see tht the "romantic ideal" is, in many ways, not only naive, but not as substantial as a quieter reality.
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#162463 - Sun Mar 16 2003 11:41 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
DieHard Offline
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Colonel Brandon is certainly the logical course for Marianne though I feel that Brandon and Elinor seem better suited for each other. I kept waiting for their match to be made but Elinor seems happy with her lot....
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#162464 - Mon Mar 17 2003 03:13 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

Colonel Brandon is certainly the logical course for Marianne though I feel that Brandon and Elinor seem better suited for each other. I kept waiting for their match to be made but Elinor seems happy with her lot....




So I wasn't the only one who felt that way!
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#162465 - Sun Mar 23 2003 07:12 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
TabbyTom Offline
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Quote:

Separating my distinct thoughts into two threads, I now want to take a moment to say how impressed I am with Jane Austen's very subtle (lightly sarcastic) humour. She pokes fun at Marianne very softly, showing up her immaturity and over sensibility while at the same time still maintaining affection for her character: "..she was reasonable enough to allow that a man of five-and thirty might well have outlived all acuteness of feeling and every exquisite power of enjoyment. She was perfectly disposed to make every allowance for the colonel's advance state of life which humanity required." And I love this jibe at John Dashwood: "He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold-hearted, and rather selfish, is to be ill-disposed."




I was also delighted with the wit and humour of the work. Besides the bits quoted by skylarb, I enjoyed the following:

"As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof was tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles. " (A nice little hit at the romantic view of the "simple life.")

"On every formal visit a child ought to be of the party, by way of provision for discourse." (Nice to see that Jane probably disliked the typical "he's got his father's ears" chatter as much as I do.)

"A young man of eighteen is not in general so earnestly bent on being busy as to resist the solicitations of his friends to do nothing. I was therefore entered at Oxford and have been properly idle ever since."

" 'Mr Palmer is ... canvassing against the election; ... it is very fatiguing to him, for he is forced to make everybody like him.' Elinor could hardly keep her countenance as she assented to the hardship of such an obligation."

"As it was impossible, however, now to prevent their coming, Lady Middleton resigned herself to the idea of it, with all the philosophy of a well-bred woman, contenting herself with merely giving her husband a gentle reprimand on the subject five or six times every day."

Has anyone else got a favourite quote from the book?


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#162466 - Sun Mar 23 2003 04:52 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
ren33 Offline
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I have but it is already in here! I really love the whole "rolling one's eyes at all the baby talk".("by way of provision for the discourse") Austen seems to do it more here than anywhere and it is very funny.
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#162467 - Mon Mar 24 2003 02:20 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
LindaC007 Offline
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I had to laugh at the meeting of Mrs. John Dashwood and Lady Middleton. bout those two ladies, Austen says:

"Lady Middleton was equally pleased with Mrs. Dashwood. There was a kind of cold-hearted selfishness on both sides, which mutually attracted them; and they sympathised with each other in an inspid propriety of demeanor, and a general want of understanding."

Tom, my one of my favorite quotes is from Mrs. Palmer:

Mrs. Palmer notices some drawings hanging on the walls, and she gets up to look at them and she says:

"Oh! dear, how beautiful these are! Well! How delightful! Do but look, mama, how sweet! I decare they are quite charming; I could look at them forever." And then sitting down again, she very soon forgot that there were any such things in the room.'

I really enjoyed Mrs. Palmer and her drool husband, Mr. Palmer.

Miss Austen wrote a wonderful book.
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#162468 - Fri Mar 28 2003 02:35 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
flem-ish Offline
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Just some impressions..
I felt it to be not unimportant for an author as Jane Austen that she (I suppose deliberately) begins her novel in an unromantic way talking about wills and money in the first chapter, and only slowly progressing to the more "sentimental" aspects of her story.
Chapter Two I consider to be a supreme example of satire in which Jane Austen lets the characters of Mrs. John Dashwood and her husband themselves reveal to the reader their own false-heartedness and egocentrism. A brilliant example of the principle that a good novelist lets the characters speak for themselves.
What impresses me most in this novel are not the various caricatures but the way in which Elinor and Marianne are good sisters for each other. I admire the way in which Elinor sees the "flaws" in Marianne's character and at same time understands that they are but the other side of her good qualities. Her enthusiasm, her tendency to be absolute in her worship of people may be "dangerous" but they are basically
the effects of too much generosity.
Whether Colonel Brandon is too old or not is not exactly a point for me. Austen seems to try to show there is a difference between "feeling in love" and " building a stable
relationship". As this is an unromantic approach to the subject of love many readers may reject her type of novel and prefer more "gothic" novels such as "Jane Eyre" and " Wuthering Heights". I bet many very young readers will consider her "boring", just as they would consider Henry James to be be boring at first reading.
An aspect that struck me as well is the traditional pattern of the English novel in which "locations" such as Barton Cottage , Norland Park are almost like "characters" in the story. A tradition which was still continued by a relatively modern author such as E.M. Forster in "Howards End".
Alas I was far too busy with other jobs to be able to read the book at leisure. The above impressions should certainly be explained in greater detail.
But may be somebody here will like to "confirm" or "contradict" my "impressions" with better "proof".

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#162469 - Fri Mar 28 2003 03:32 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Romanticism)
skylarb Offline
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Quote:

I felt it to be not unimportant for an author as Jane Austen that she (I suppose deliberately) begins her novel in an unromantic way talking about wills and money in the first chapter, and only slowly progressing to the more "sentimental" aspects of her story . . . Austen seems to try to show there is a difference between "feeling in love" and " building a stable
relationship". As this is an unromantic approach . . .




I have selected those quotes from your post I would like to express agreement with. These are insightful comments.

I think it is interesting just how much Austen emphasizes money in her books. It is a streak of practicality that may be off-putting to a romantic.

It is interesting that although Jane Austen wrote during the Romantic age, she is something of an anti-romantic. She mocks the excess of sensibility of her time. But she is not like the modern realists either--she does not resort to pessimism (which they call "realism.") She notices both the virtues and follies in human kind, and hopes for gradual character reform without beating a path to it.

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#162470 - Fri Mar 28 2003 03:53 PM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
TabbyTom Offline
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I also noticed the tone of Chapter 1, where the emphasis is very much on the law of property and inheritance, with the use of words like "secured", "life interest" and the pure legal jargon of "moiety". This certainly sets the scene and makes us immediately aware of the constraints within which the Dashwood girls have to work out their destiny.

Quote:

Whether Colonel Brandon is too old or not is not exactly a point for me. Austen seems to try to show there is a difference between "feeling in love" and " building a stable relationship".



Yes. Of course, by the time Marianne marries she is no longer seventeen but nineteen (the same age as Elinor when the novel begins), and she has learned a lot from her experience with Willoughby. I think young women were expected to mature fairly quickly: at the age of 17 Marianne might be allowed the luxury of indulging her feelings, but by the age of 19 she would probably be expected to be ready for the responsibilities of "the mistress of a family, the patroness of a village." Note: not the "mother" of a family but the "mistress"; the "family" would have been the household, including the servants, and the full-time job of managing the staff would be an intrinsic part of Marianne's life as a married woman.
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#162471 - Sat Mar 29 2003 10:16 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility (Too Old?)
LindaC007 Offline
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I thought the ending to be very satisfying. Elinor, Maryanne, and Lucy all married the men they would be happiest with.

After finishing the book, Elinor is still my favorite character.

One of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much is that I have three sisters. Although our lives were certainly different than the lives of Elinor and her sisters, the love and closeness is there.

Also, I have four brothers, and I always felt they would do almost anything for me. I think that's why I disliked John Dashwood so very much. Of course, he was their half-brother and older, but he certainly failed them in a brotherly capacity to my thinking.

For me, Sense and Sensibility was made a richer experience because all your posts and sharing the experience with all you.
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#162472 - Tue Apr 01 2003 07:57 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility
skylarb Offline
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Thanks everyone. I enjoyed discussing this book with you, and I look forward to the next one.
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#162473 - Sat Apr 05 2003 03:59 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility
moonchild Offline
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Well there's a question - what is the next book and when do we start? I want to play too now I've got more time on my hands!
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#162474 - Sat Apr 05 2003 07:10 AM Re: Sense & Sensibility
TabbyTom Offline
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Hello moonchild.

The next book is "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding and we're starting now. Ren33 has opened a thread for it in this forum: please join in as soon as you van.
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